The news in the automotive world continues to be a mix of stories reagarding incredible advances in technology and stories of adapting to those developments as well as a demanding market.
Last month, that was highlighted by the news from Ford that while it is to launch new models in Europe and that every new Ford passenger vehicle nameplate will include an electrified option, at the same time it will be introducing efficiencies that will see the closure of some of its engine and transmission manufacturing plants in Europe. Reportedly, some 12,000 jobs will be impacted.
Clearly, this is not happy news, but it is, perhaps, an indication of what the industry faces moving forward.
The need to invest heavily in new technologies such as electric cars and autonomous tech has to have an impact somewhere along the line. It is what drove the proposed link-up between FCA and Renault, what drives the partnerships between the big players in general, and is likely, at least in part, behind Ford’s move.
This is not the last time we will probably hear of such news. As new technologies come on line, including in products (think EVs), manufacturing processes (think 3D printing) sales (think online services), and many other sectors, the effect on traditional businesses – from the small, family-run, two-hoist workshop to the very biggest of corporate giants – will be very tough indeed.
For all businesses, now is the time to be thinking about the future and how to adapt to the disruptions that are on the way.
OUT AND ABOUT
June was another busy month for the MTAiQ team as we continue to establish relationships and contacts across the innovation and start-up landscape.
In mid June, we attended an Activator Launch held by SheEO, an organisation that supports female innovators.
Held on the Gold Coast, the event gave an insight into how the organisation is working to change the landscape for female entrepreneurs. Their model brings together 500 women (Activators) in each cohort who contribute $1100 each in what is called an Act of Radical Generosity. The money is pooled together and loaned out, at 0 per cent interest, to five women-led ventures. That loan is paid back over five years and the money is then loaned out again, creating a perpetual fund. Fascinating stuff.
Also on this month’s agenda was the Start-up Redlands Pitch Comp, held on June 19, which saw start-ups pitch their ideas and concepts to a judging panel of Redlands Angel Investors. Like many such events held across the state, this is a fantastic way for start-ups, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors to meet and collaborate.
Toward the end of the month, INNOV8 Logan held a meeting to discuss Onshoring by design, competing successfully against low-cost nations. Special guest was Ty Hermans, founder of the design-led manufacturer Evolve Group, who aims to win $400million of production back to Australia over the next decade. With manufacturing a crucial component of any nation’s economic vibrancy, this was an interesting story to hear.
Two other events definitely worth mentioning were the Hololens 2 event at which MTAiQ member Immerse Enterprise was present. A monthly event, the gathering of the Virtual/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) community looks at the latest developments in the VR and AR landscape – an area that is sure to play an important role in auto manufacturing, training and retail in the coming years.
The other event of which to take note was the 2019 International Education and Training Summit: Changing the Narrative, held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre at the end of the month. Paul Kulpa, GM of the MTA Institute, was there at an event that explored issues relating to international education and training in Queensland.
The annual IET Summit brings together industry and partners such as local government, tourism, community and business, to plan future activities and projects and initiatives for the future. We all know how key training and education is to the future of the automotive industry, so having a voice at a forward-looking event such as this is crucial.
GOT AN IDEA? LET US KNOW!
At MTAiQ, Australia’s first automotive industry-focused innovation hub, we aim to be a leading voice in the innovation landscape and a muscular contributor to conversations around new concepts and ideas concerning mobility and the future of our industry. However, as important as that mission is, it is also our aim to assist industry and businesses that exist today to respond to the disruptions that are beginning to be felt and which will only grow over the next few years.
The MTAiQ and MTA Queensland are constantly working on initiatives that can help members and the wider automotive industry community navigate this disruption. Examples of this would be in our delivery of hybrid/EV training courses through the MTA Institute, the delivery of the Small Business Digital Champion Project, our investment in fledgling businesses, and our partnerships with other associations and organisations that are similarly committed to our industry.
This idea of combining conceptual and real innovations with tangible solutions that help businesses to adapt and evolve is central to what we do.
With that in mind, I encourage those of you out there who have an idea, a plan, a kernel of a concept, to think hard about what it can deliver to the automotive community, and then get in touch with us. It could be a new product, a new piece of software, a new way of doing business or perhaps the adaptation of something that already exists and that makes it better. Whatever it may be, we can help develop it into something that, just maybe, could make a real difference to the industry.
So, if you have an idea, let us know. As Shiv Nadar, Indian billionaire and tech entrepreneur said: “Adaptability and constant innovation is key to the survival of any company operating in a competitive market.”
I look forward to hearing from you.
Until next time.